The Great Wall, starring Matt Damon, just came out in theaters, but Twitter has already rendered its verdict on both the film and its most famous star with the Thank You Matt Damon Twitter trending topic.
Thank you to Matt Damon for hosting a benefit for the Center for #Cancer Immunology at @MassGeneral w/ his father & director of the center pic.twitter.com/xKQsnTK5VwAccording to Fusion, the "Thank You Matt Damon" Twitter trending topic started because Damon -- who is the only non-Asian actor in the film -- was cast as a European mercenary who was sent to China to save the country from (CGI-based) demons. This, of course, pushes the old "white Savior" trope that today's multi-cultural society is desperate to get away from.
— Molly Richter (@molly_richter) November 10, 2016
And the trending topic didn't excoriate Damon simply because he was cast in a role, but because he'd denied that he was part of the problem for so long.
"[The whitewashing news] suddenly becomes a story because people click on it, versus the traditional ways that a story would get vetted before it would get to that point. It's a monster movie and it's a historical fantasy and I didn't take a role away from a Chinese actor … it wasn't altered because of me in any way."
Thank you @Complex. Matt Damon is a weak "woke" poser. https://t.co/VecnmIOFIL pic.twitter.com/4haRL8A01rFor what it's worth, however, the director of the film thinks that the "Thank You Matt Damon" Twitter trending topic has a lot of misguided anger directed towards the actor, who -- according to the director -- means well.
— Gene Park (@GenePark) February 16, 2017
According to Vulture, Zhang Yimou has been working overtime to defend his film from the white-washing accusations, and he's quick to point out that Matt Damon had nothing to do with the casting decisions, nor did he ever say anything derogatory about Asian people.
"In many ways The Great Wall is the opposite of what is being suggested. For the first time, a film deeply rooted in Chinese culture, with one of the largest Chinese casts ever assembled, is being made at tent pole scale for a world audience. I believe that is a trend that should be embraced by our industry. Our film is not about the construction of the Great Wall. Matt Damon is not playing a role that was originally conceived for a Chinese actor. The arrival of his character in our story is an important plot point. There are five major heroes in our story and he is one of them — the other four are all Chinese."
thank you matt damon. I love you.???? #ThankYouMattDamon pic.twitter.com/gdARsBrBBbOf course, according to Buzzfeed, that hasn't stopped Twitter users from taking to the "Thank You Matt Damon" to roast and toast the actor with some of the most savage insults ever committed to the Internet.
— mattypage (@Mattypagedamon) February 17, 2017
The trending topic started thanks to Asian comedian Jenny Yang, who attended the premiere and sarcastically tweeted her thanks to Matt Damon for saving her people.
THANK YOU FOR ALL THAT YOU'VE DONE TO SAVE THE CHINESE PEOPLE, MATT DAMON. #THEGREATWALL pic.twitter.com/o4WlEHtAmaThis, ultimately, kicked off a series of insults towards the actor.
— Jenny Yang???????????? (@jennyyangtv) February 16, 2017
Matt Damon figuring out how to save China. #thankyoumattdamon #thegreatwall @jennyyangtv @angryasianman @ConstanceWu pic.twitter.com/GX20yBdtx8
— Melissa K. (@melissjk) February 16, 2017
Matt Damon takes off his shoes -- and puts on slippers -- when he enters Your house. #ThankYouMattDamon
— Angry Asian Man (@angryasianman) February 16, 2017
Matt Damon introduced me to boba #thankyoumattdamon https://t.co/rIdxIgjUUR
— Shanna Choung (@ShannAwesome) February 16, 2017
@jennyyangtv Matt Damon taught me how to steam and eat rice everyday. #thankyoumattdamonAs savage as some of these "Thank You Matt Damon" tweets are, we also have to admit that they're absolutely hilarious.
— Lee Leong (@LTZCreative) February 16, 2017
What's your take on the whole "Thank You Matt Damon" brouhaha?
[Featured Image by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]